Health, as defined by World Health Organization is the overall well-being of physical, mental, social, and spiritual being of one self. Health is not merely the absence of diseases or disorders, but ensuring that all the aspects of well-being is high-functional. Thus, sexual and reproductive health, more so for women is also vital in achieving a fully optimal life.
Reproductive health ensures that individuals are able to have a responsible and safe sex through access of various contraceptives, birth control methods and sexual health care services of their choice. Moreover, reproductive health pushes for the freewill to decide whether one wants to reproduce or not. This advocates that both men and women have the necessary sex education. One of the pressing reasons why reproductive health must be implemented efficiently is to ensure that women will undergo pregnancy safely and avoid infancy deaths. Sex education and reproductive health is also important as a preventive measure for sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes, HIV and AIDS.
Unfortunately, because of political, cultural, religious and social factors; women from various ethnicities are not able to access proper sex education and reproductive health care methods and services. Factors that hinder women from these rights include poverty, gender bias and rigid religious beliefs.
Lack of knowledge and accurate information regarding sex and reproductive health makes women, especially the youth be more susceptible to unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortion, sexually transmitted diseases, and even maternal deaths. If you want to consult anything regarding these topics privately, find a private gynecologist near you.
In order to address this, a comprehensive, age-appropriate, evidenced-based and bias-free sex education should be integrated to high school curriculum. Sex education should not be limited to memorizing the female and male reproductive system. This should also encompass critical and substantial information about personal values, reproductive rights, contraception, teenage pregnancy, gender-based and sexual abuse, and debunking sexual-related myths. Contrary to popular belief that the youth would be more engaged in risky sexual behaviors when sex education is taught; research data have shown that sex education or programs were able to successfully influence the youth to fully abstain from sex or practice safe sex.
Consequently, sexual rights should also be recognized and respected in order to achieve sexual and reproductive health. This upholds the idea that sexual relationships should be free from any form of abuse. Sexual rights include the right to make your own sexual decisions (such as who to have sex with and when), to right to ask your partner whether he or she has been tested for sexually transmitted diseases, the right to call people out whenever you feel sexually harassed, the right to masturbate, the right to sexual privacy and autonomy. When these rights are upheld, it is easier to promote universal sexual and reproductive health care.
Sexual hygiene is also integral as a part of sexual and reproductive health. Washing of genitals and anus regularly to prevent bacterial and fungal infection. For women, yeast infections also happen so washing with soap is not enough. Rather, it is recommended to use a PH-balanced feminine wash. Both parties should also wash their hands and nails prior and after sex as not to transfer germs. Trimming of pubic hair is also important for both genders as to prevent odor due to sweat. Lastly, towels, cloths and bedding should be washed and changed afterwards.